Women’s Her-story Moment: Why Do Black Women Swoon over President Barack Obama? Desperation?
Now that it is Women’s Her-story month I thought I would stoke the fires with a blog about something many black women would have a problem with, but something I need to write and have been thinking about for some time . . . our love for President Barack Obama. Perhaps, not love, but our longing for him. Yep, I am questioning our longing for him as black women. I tell you, it greatly saddens me to see black women swoon over Barack Obama and his family because it lets me know how desperate we are as black women for the illusion of the acceptable black family model and an acceptable black man.
And, yes, all ages of black women tend to swoon over him even seasoned (cough cough cough) 55 year-old black women shave countless decades off their lives and become 16 year-old navel gazing black girls referring to Obama, the President of the United States, as His Cuteness as if President Barack Obama, the leader of the known world, is some simple cast member of Grey’s Anatomy where the most attractive male cast members are seductively and playfully referred to as McDreamy, McSteamy, and, now, His Cuteness. I know many of you are saying, “It’s all fun and banter.” And, in response, I would say both yes and no. Don’t get me wrong, I relish the womanist talk downright juicy idioms and metaphors we use to talk about deliciously beautiful black men. I have been known to call a certain coco-looking black male actor, “The Stick.”
However, I must say, the playful innocence of the banter left the room the day President Obama decided to croon Al Green’s, “I’m so in love with you . . .” then the innocence of it all became a mirror reflecting how desperate we are as black women for “acceptable” black male companionship. Not, just acceptable romantic black companionship, but acceptable images of black fathers, black husbands, black uncles, black brothers, and black nephews. For if Black Women Blue Print data is true about black women and sexual violence and the new medical study is true about heterosexual Black girls being on par with women in Sub-Saharan Africa with newly infected cases of HIV, the desire, rather conscious or unconscious, for acceptable black men—safe looking, safe acting, safe touching—is very real.
And, even on a more romantic level, I understand that for a certain class of black women the definition of acceptable black man takes on an additional color of marriageability—did he graduate from college? Is he motivated to achieve? Does he have goals? Can he hold a somewhat decent conversation? And, for these women and others, President Barack Obama fits the bill. He graduated from Harvard. He is a lawyer. He is married to a dark skinned black woman though he is fare skinned (yes, this too, colorism, creates a sense of longing in black women). He is the present father of two black girls. And, he is the first black president of the United States of America. Can we say SALIVATE?
I tell you, I too am complicit because I know what it means to be a single black woman and to long for companionship with black men . . . I understand it. However, what I don’t get is how critical thinking Black women who understand gender, racism, and feminism totally don’t see how black women in some ways are being manipulated (i.e. If I sing to you then you can forget how I have not done much to help you in the black community) by the imaging of President Obama . . . the Apollo visit alone sent most black women I know into frenzy of fantasying about his seen and clothed “swagger.”
But, to truly see how we as black women swoon over President Barack Obama just think back to the day on Facebook when Governor Jan Brewer decided that she was going to disrespect President Obama. I tell you, my newsfeed was lit up with vitriol against Governor Brewer and rightly so. However, the anger I saw on Facebook against Governor Brewer cloaked something else more than the issue of white women racism. And, of course, leave it to the old woman of my heart to put her finger on it. She made an excellent point though crudely in the way old black women tend to talk. She said, “Obama knows how to deal with white women, he came out of a white vagina (G-Rated Version) meaning, dearest, he knows how to take care of himself when it comes to white women. He don’t need all these black women to come and save him.” But, if he is seen as the pen-ultimate image of the acceptable black man than we desire to protect him from all arrows of indignation.
And, if you still are having a hard time believing that we swoon over President Obama then just look at your Facebook newsfeed and see the many pictures posted of the him and the First Family. We as black women fantasize about him and his family. Rarely, do I see black men posting pictures of President Obama and if they do not to the level in which black women post. Honestly, I believe that this enrapturing of President Obama hides within black women a deep longing for mutual companionship with acceptable black men. And, once again, acceptable does not only mean the academic pedigree of a black man, but the safeness, love, unconventional masculinity of black men. We long for that. We fantasize on that. We want that.
Once again, the longing is not a bad thing, but, I won’t say that it does not make my stomach curl to think of how thirsty we can be for black male companionship. It makes me sad to see it. It makes sad to see it in myself. The unfettered longing. Yep, I know its Women’s Her-story Month, but had to tell this story though I know I will get much push back from telling it.
Yep, please leave a comment if you can.